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Omozuwa: NCWD Calls For Speedy Prosecution Of Rape Cases

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BY JOY YESUFU
The Director-General,  National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Barrister Mary Ekpere-Eta has called for a paradigm shift in the prosecution of rape cases urging for an improved and effective response from the police, the judiciary, members of the victim’s family and community members.
Ekpere-Eta stated this in a statement she personally signed expressing worry in the recent surge in rape cases across the country with datas showing that one in four girls and one in ten boys have experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 adding that recent months have seen the media publishing reports of rape which in some cases the women were killed after being sexually assaulted.
The statement further said recent cases like that of University of Benin undergraduate Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, Miss. Barakat Bello of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Ibadan, both of whom were raped and killed, as well as a 12 year old girl serially raped by 11 men in Jigawa State call for a paradigm shift in how rape is handled by all actors.
“I call for improved and effective response from the police, the judiciary, members of the victim’s family and community members.  Providing support for victims is critical to encouraging them to be bold enough to report sexual assault. It is time to break the culture of silence around rape.
“Timely report of rape is critical to successfully prosecuting those who take pleasure in sexually assaulting women. Rapists shouldn’t be walking free targeting the next victim; they should be found, prosecuted and sent to jail” she noted.
She commended the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu for sending extra number of detectives to fish out the killers of the Late Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, urging him to do same in the case of the Late Barakat Bello.
“On a long term basis, I hope that the police will use part of the Police Trust Fund to equip the police to scientifically prove rape cases and also to train special units across police state commands to professionally handle rape cases. There has been complaints from rape victims and their families of being unprofessionally treated by police officers when they reported being raped, pointing to a culture of victim shaming.
” Having a dedicated unit for sexual crime will greatly reduce complaints of victim shaming” the statement said.
The DG urged all states of the federation to domesticate relevant laws such as the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and the Child Rights Act (CRA) to strengthen the fight against sexual violence also President Muhammadu Buhari and the First Lady for speaking out against the brutal rape and murder of Ms. Omozuwa.
 

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